MSU 34, Notre Dame 31

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

On Saturday night, Anne and I took advantage of the rare opportunity to watch our college Alma mater, Michigan State, play football on TV.  Here in Saint Louis, where the Big Ten is narrowly defined as simply that other team that happens to be playing Illinois this week, MSU viewing opportunities are few and far between.  Notre Dame, our opponent for the night, was the primary reason that ABC was showing the Spartans in a Saturday night football game. 

I was initially apprehensive about our prospects, when I learned that Michigan had beaten Notre Dame the week before.  Such defeats normally serve just to rile the Irish up, who then vent there anger on the next Michigan team that they face.  But this game was in East Lansing and home field advantage counts for a lot in a college football game.  The first quarter only seemed to reaffirm my apprehensions, Notre Dame scored first, while MSU couldn’t seem to find their footing, by half time though things were looking better.  The third quarter turned frenetic with the Spartans and the Irish trading touchdowns, by the end of the fourth quarter though it was all tied up at 28-28.

When I went to State the game would have ended then and we would have all gone home, but nowadays there is college football overtime.  This game was my first exposure to this phenomenon.  Remember folks, there is not much in the way of Big Ten football here in Mound City and watching other peoples teams seems not really worthwhile, so I don’t watch a lot of college football.  I am familiar with Pro football’s sudden-death overtime, as its name is suppose to imply, score first or die.  Where as, Pro football’s overtime is a real-time duel, college football’s overtime seems to be turned based.  On Saturday night, Michigan elected to go second.  Notre Dame went first and scored a field goal.  State’s drive faltered and the Spartan’s were looking at a 50+ yard field goal attempt, but then the fun began.

MSU faked the field goal attempt and instead of just holding the football, the Spartan’s holder, a high school quarterback, threw a great pass to a wide open receiver and won the game.  Subsequently there were some recriminations about the play clock being expired, but they turned out to be just sour grapes.  In an on-field interview, State’s head coach, Mark Dantonio, named the winning play the “Little Giants”.  According to Dantonio, the Irish head coach called it a gutsy call.  It was a gutsy call and calling it must have added a lot of stress to an already stressful job, because Dantonio had a heart attack shortly after the game and subsequently had heart surgery.  He is expected to recover.

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Shortly, after the end of the game thunderstorms rolled into Saint Louis.  They lasted through the night and through Sunday morning.  Our usual Sunday plans to go bicycling got washed-out; I couldn’t even mow the lawn (Boo Hoo), as Anne and I settled into a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Anyway, Notre Dame may have been happy getting the worm, but only until MSU got the cheese.

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